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Neha Wadekar ’07

Some of Milton’s best student writers and artists gathered virtually on Monday evening for the Laurence S. Persky Memorial Awards. The annual awards are given for the best work appearing in Milton Academy student publications and honors excellence in creative writing, journalism, art, photography, and production.

Guest speaker and alumna Neha Wadekar ’07 spoke to students from Nairobi, Kenya (2 a.m. her time), where she is based as a freelance journalist. She spoke about her non-linear career path and how students can follow their passions and take risks, even in these uncertain times.

“Success comes in many different forms,” said Wadekar. “People who are creative, passionate and flexible are the people who can thrive in any environment. For me, writing is an art. It’s a personal form of freedom and self-expression. It’s a privilege.”

Wadekar said her work brings her joy and although working as a freelancer can have ups and downs, she said she’s “never regretted my decision.” 

The Persky Awards were established to honor the memory of a Milton student writer who passed away just prior to his Class I year over 30 years ago. Emily Franklin, Milton alumna and author, was one of the judges. Emily received a Persky Award as a senior in 1990.

Head of School Todd Bland did the honor of announcing the individual awards.


Honorable Mentions:

  • Nara Mohyeddin 21 for her creative nonfiction “Heirloom”
  • Beck Kendig 20 for his fiction “The Criminal”
  • Eliza Dunn ’21 for her poem “A History of Children”

Persky Award Winners:

  • In creative nonfiction: Malia Chung 20 for “Portrait”
  • In fiction: Eleni Mazareas 21  for “As We Lie at Dawn”
  • In poetry: Anne Kwok 21 for “Mother Makes Steamed Fish for Dinner”


Honorable Mentions: 

  • Jeanna Shaw ’20 for her painting “My Immigrant Father”
  • Grace Li ’20 for her photograph “Color as Emotion 1”
  • Claire Mallela ’22 for her digital art “Inside Jokes and Passing Notes”

Persky Award Winners: 

  • In painting: Ethan Furdak ‘’20 for “Facets”
  • In photography: Max Andrade ’21 for “Wet Wetsuit”
  • In digital art: Lynn Yuan ‘’21  for “The Taste of Home”


Best Science Article, featured in Helix:
Wilder Crosier ’21 for “Quantum Dots: Tiny Crystals Brightening Today’s Technologies”

Best Editorial:
The Milton Measure’s Editorial Board for “The Assembly”

Best Commentary—National Topic:
Joshua Hwang ’21, The Milton Measure, for “Life for Asians After Coronavirus”

Best Commentary—Milton Topic:
Nikhil Pande ’21  and George Rose ’21, The Milton Paper, for “The Dirt on Our Lawn Care”

Best Column:
David Shaw ’20, The Milton Measure, for  “Unspoken Stories” 

Best News Story:
Sarah Alkhafaji ’20  and Nara Mohyeddin ’21, The Milton Paper, for “Transitions” 

Best Overall News Writer:
A tie: Cece Zinny ’21, The Milton Measure, and Sneha Jaiswal ’22, The Milton Paper 

Best Feature:
Annie Wernerfelt ’20, The Milton Paper, for “Our Relationships with the Town of Milton” 

Best Overall Sports Writer:
Antoine Wiley ’20, The Milton Paper

Best Milton Sports Coverage:
Colin Baker ’21, The Milton Measure

Best Milton Arts Coverage:
Ava D’Ambrosio ’22, The Milton Measure

Best Overall Arts Writing:
Grace Li ’20, The Milton Paper

Best Arts Feature:
Nara Mohyeddin ’21, The Milton Paper, for “Toni Morrison and 1,001 Nights”

Best Layout:
Margot Becker ’20, The Milton Paper

Best Humor Piece:
India Claudy ’20 and Ethan Furdak ’20, The Shallot, for “Stanford EDIII Application”